McNeese drops series to Demons

Published 6:05 pm Saturday, March 30, 2024

For the second straight day, McNeese State got a solid start from a pitcher only to see late troubles prove costly.

Northwestern State scored seven runs over the final three innings to rally past the Cowboys 10-4 Saturday at Joe Miller Ballpark.

The victory gave the Demons the Southland Conference series 2-1, taking the last two games with late rallies.

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“We have got some problems we have to work through,” said McNeese head coach Justin Hill. “We have to fight through this.”

McNeese used four relievers over the last four innings to try and close things out but couldn’t. 

Rocco Gump’s two-run single in the eighth was the big blow as it broke open the game. It came one batter after the Demons had taken a 5-4 lead off Ty Abraham (1-2), who took the loss for McNeese.

“A lot of things went wrong,” said Hill. “We are not playing the game well right now.”

Gump finished with three hits while Colin Rains drove in three runs for NSU, two on his second home run of the season in the second,

That gave the Demons (9-19, 3-3) a 2-0 lead. McNeese (13-12, 1-2) tied the game in the bottom of the frame on Parker Stroh’s RBI single and Easton Dowell’s steal of home.

After NSU took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth the Cowboys responded with a pair in the home half. Chase Keeton followed Elliot Hebert’s double with a long home run to left-center. 

The blast was Keeton’s third of the season but would be McNeese’s last runs of the game.

Dylan Marionneaux (2-4) worked the final three innings allowing just two hits and not giving up a run to get the win.

McNeese got a good start from lefty Alexis Gravel, who struck out a career-high 10 over five innings. He allowed just one earned run.

“The starting pitching this weekend has been good,” said Hill. “Up until the last two days the bullpen had been good as well.”

McNeese will return to action Tuesday night when the Cowboys host Alcorn State in the first of two games.